—Said FG On Track To Overcome Recession
President of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN), Prof. Victor Chude, has said the federal government through the minister of agriculture and rural development Chief Audu Ogbeh and his counterpart minister of state Hon. Heineken Lokpobiri are on track to help Nigeria overcome the present economic recession in 2017.
Recently, Prof Chude said the two ministers have laudable plans and projects and saying all that is needed to be done is ensure that they continue with the plans they have set up from 2016
He urged the federal government focus on providing resources to ensure that lots of the bilateral agreements already entered are continued. Plans on ground should be properly funded, notig that “if the Green Alternative is properly funded,nothing new needs to be added to ensure Nigeria comes out of recession”
He said “I am also aware that the Ministry of Environment is working with some partners from Israel, on the desert-to- food programme, which this is aimed at addressing issues of desertification. One would like to see this programme under the framework of the Great Green Wall,” he added
He noted that the programme has been on for some time with the enormous potential to convert the 14 front line desertified states into food baskets for the nation.
Prof. Chude however lamented that the budget allocation to the agricultural sector will not take the economy very far, even while recalling that the President had referred to the availability of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) Anchor Borrower Programme.
In his words” the 2017 budget of about 92 billion is grossly inadequate. Fortunately it is not too late and the National Assembly has the opportunity to double what the President is proposing”
The soil expert urged that projects in the agricultural sector should be properly funded, adding the budget of the sector, should be doubled.
He further advised that “the recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) should be completed within the first quarter of the year (2017) to enable farmers can have access to funds and loans at maximum of five per cent interests rates, noting that some countries operated as low as 2/3 per cent interests rates”.
Prof. Chude further advised that the conflicts between herds men and pastoralists should be addressed, saying that the continental continual conflict has led to many farmers being afraid to go into their farms.
He noted that already, about 16 northern states have shown interest to collaborate with the federal government on grazing reserves, noting that if the states are grassed, it will go a long way in reducing the crises.
Expressing optimism in the efforts being made by the present administration, he said” I know that the federal government is trying, but if there is collaboration between the federal government and states,it would go a long way.